Even though you may not be eating meat – or as much meat as the average person – iron deficiency doesn’t have to be a problem. The risk of having low iron is definitely higher when you cut (or limit) meat from your diet, since the heme iron found in meat is easier to absorb than the non-heme iron in plant-based foods.
If you make the effort to choose vegan or vegetarian-friendly foods that are high in iron, there are ways to help keep your iron in check. For instance, I’ve come up with a list of the top 12 iron-rich foods suitable for vegans and vegetarians:
Cook these babies up in a meatless chili or hearty soup and enjoy 8.8 mg of iron per cup of cooked soybeans
Whether in a spicy stir fry or chunky stew; 150 grams of tofu can give you anywhere from 2.5 to 8 mg of iron
Not the tastiest, but if you sub half of the fancy molasses in a cookie recipe for blackstrap molasses, you can enjoy a boost in iron as just 2 tablespoons contain 7.2 mg!
Great with soup or pasta, one cup of lentils contains 6.6 mg of iron
Do it like the Europeans and sauté up some spinach with garlic and olive oil since you get a whopping 6.4 mg of iron per cup of cooked spinach
Who doesn’t love a bagel? And 6.4 mg of iron in an enriched bagel makes it even more lovable!
Let oatmeal or cream of wheat warm you up on a cold day with anywhere from 4.5 to 6.6 mg of iron per ¾ cup serving; dry cereals are a good source of iron too with 4.0 to 4.3 mg of iron per ¾ cup serving
Get your hummus on or put some soup on because one cup of chickpeas gives you 4.7 mg of iron
Make pasta sauce or add it to any other dish for as much as 4.8 mg of iron per cup
This vegan fave gives you 4.5 mg per cup
ROASTED PUMPKIN AND SQUASH SEEDS
Perfect for the munchies; roasted pumpkin or squash seeds contain anywhere from 1.4 to 4.7 mg of iron per ¼ serving
No matter how you like your taters, one large potato contains 3.2 mg of iron
Still hungry? An honorable mention goes to quinoa, tahini, and veggie dogs which also contain good amounts of iron. Also, don’t forget to avoid these iron absorption inhibitors when you’re eating your iron-rich meals!
Content and advice provided on The Iron Maiden is for information purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for a licensed health care provider, who is knowledgeable about an individual’s unique health care needs